Wide receiver soldiers on despite heavy heart
It wasn’t about the game.
For once, the actual contest became of secondary importance, deferring to the human drama that played out under the Friday night lights.
The morning before he went out and poured his soul out on the field. wide receiver Miles Parscal sat somberly at his mother’s funeral service in Socorro. His mother recently succumbed to cancer.
Long before that, Parscal had decided that, no matter what, he wasn’t going to miss the he Magdalena football team’s home opener, not after his teammates had boarded a yellow bus and drove down with him to lend their support at her funeral. He caught one pass for six yards, as his team fought and scrapped, but ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard against Escalante, 18-0. The loss paled in comparison to what Parscal has dealt with in the week leading up to the Steers’ opener.
“I played my ass off for her, and I did the best that I could,” he said, choking back tears. “I told my coaches that I wanted to come out and play because I know that’s what she would have wanted. I felt her out there. She was helping me out.”
The outcome of Friday night’s game was an afterthought.
The Steers, though, went toe-to-toe with Escalante, likely a playoff-bound team that just missed out on playing in last year’s state 1A championship. They came up short, but played the Lobos to a draw for much of the first half. Head coach Jory Mirabal’s team looked revitalized on both sides of the ball. Last year the Steers defense was porous, but that wasn’t the case this time around, as Magdalena held the Lobos to just 10 points in the first half.
By no means, Mirabal said, was he satisfied with the outcome, but it was refreshing to see his young program show the fight it will need down the road to eventually win a game.
“I’ve tried to get it out of their vocabulary as far as this year, last year,” he said. “As far as my own personal observations I’d say we looked like a team that was playing its first game. I’m not happy where we’re at per se … but I would dare say, we looked pretty good for where we are.”
The Steers’ fan base would seem to agree. More than 250 people were in attendance, and despite the home team being down for a majority of the game, there was no mass exodus. They stayed, gripped to their seats.
On two occasions, the home team threatened, but each time a combination of penalties and busted plays kept them from punctuating their drives with touchdowns. In the third quarter, the Steers strung together a drive, but it faltered at the 3-yard line. Tailback Jonathan Britton appeared to break the end zone plane, but the referees ruled him down at the 1-yard line, and the next play the Steers were thrown for a loss and turned it over on downs.
Lobos’ head coach Dusty Miles wasn’t at the school last year, but he said he could tell that the Steers are a well-coached ball club.
“Tell you what, Magdalena has a heck of a ball club,” he said. “They get after it. Their schemes are pretty good and you can tell their coach is coaching them pretty hard. They’re getting some good things done down here.”
The greatest, by far, though, was the compassion they showed for a teammate who needed them to embrace him.
Parscal’s mother had been battling cancer for two years, so he said he had been preparing himself for the day she passed on. That still hasn’t made it easier. What has, he said, is being around the team and that familial atmosphere.
“It was really hard,” he said, “but this is my other family right here. I’m not going to let these guys down. I had to come here and play for them.”
That’s what he did — with all his soul and might.